“I’ve lived here my entire life, but I have never been to the fall festival.”
“It’s sorta cool, I guess. I mean, if there’s nothing better to do,” he said and then silently prayed that she too busy looking at all the different booths of games and various carnival food to notice that he sounded like a bumbling idiot.
“Is that why you brought me here? There was nothing better to do,” she asked. He saw she had a teasing look in her eye. He wondered if she was testing him.
“No, of course not! I was just-” She reached out grabbing one of his hands and squeezed it gently, silencing him.
“Relax, I’m just joking. It looks like fun. Come on, I’m dying for some cotton candy.” He noticed that she hadn’t let go of his hand as they started towards the cotton candy booth. She probably just doing it so that we don’t get separated in the crowd, he thought. But still, he enjoyed feeling the warmth of her hand in his.
After spending weeks of admiring her from afar, he finally gathered up enough courage to ask her out. He was expecting her to say no, so when she answered yes, he was so surprised he had to ask if he heard her correctly.
The fall festival was his safe option. He thought it would help ease his nerves if there were other things they could direct their attention to when there was an awkward silence in their conversation. But when he went to pick her up at her house and saw her waiting by door wearing a coral dress with a wool sweater draped over her shoulders and tall boots, he knew there was no way in hell the festival could ease his nerves. If he screwed this up, he would never forgive himself.
Luckily, he didn’t.
Once she took his hand, he felt himself relax. While she ate cotton candy and he ate a caramel apple, they talked about their interests and dreams for the future. They rode all the rides that didn’t spin since she hated feeling dizzy. When there was a pause in the conversation, he didn’t feel the pressure to try to fill it. Instead, he took the moment to take in the beautiful girl beside him. He draped his arm over her shoulder and noticed how natural she fit against him.
It was going perfectly until they decided to follow the sound of the music they kept hearing drifting in and out of the town’s square.
An upbeat country song filled their ears as they rounded the corner and saw a makeshift stage on the sidewalk where a band was playing. The closed off street in front of the stage was being used as a dance floor where a few older couples were dancing.
“I love this song. We should go dance,” she said, swaying her hips to the beat.
At first, he was going to tell her, not a chance in hell was he going to dance, but thought better of it and simply told her, “I don’t like to dance.”
“Oh, well…” she looked longingly back at the dance floor, “I guess that’s that.”
He could hear the disappoint in her voice, and in the moment, he knew that he had lost her. He thought his awkwardness or nervousness would turn her off, but in the end, it was because he refused to make a fool of himself on the dance floor.
I can’t lose her. If dancing is what she wants to do, then I will dance with her. I’ll dance with her all night long, he thought.
“When I said I didn’t like to dance,” he said just as the band started playing a slow song, “I meant I don’t like dancing to fast paced stuff. I prefer the ones that are slower.”
“Yeah?” She said, turning around smiling at him.
“Yeah.” He held out his hand, and she took it following him to the dance floor.
While couples drifted on and off the street, the two of them stayed out there swaying to the music until the fireflies came out and the twinkle lights above them in the trees flickered on. When the band’s set was over, he leaned down and kissed her right there in the middle of the street in the Autumn moonlight.
Boots: Sam Edelman
Bracelet: Lily and Laura
Lipstick: Burt’s Bees Lipstick – Blush Basin
Comment Questions: What would you wear on a first date? What’s your favorite song to dance to?